Amid COVID surge, San Francisco cuts community test site budget in vulnerable neighborhoods

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
SF cuts budget for COVID community test sites in vulnerable areas
In the midst of a COVID surge, San Francisco's new budget is set to cut multiple community COVID test sites in the Mission and Bayview districts.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the midst of a COVID surge, San Francisco's new budget is set to cut multiple community test sites in the Mission and Bayview districts.

"Our health programs would close in the next 30 days," said Ivan Corado-Vega, manager for the Latino Task Force.

RELATED: Study by SF researchers shows how COVID symptoms evolved between delta, omicron

The Latino Task Force is seeing first hand COVID cases increase. Data goes hand in hand with the CDC placing the county of San Francisco in the red under "high levels of community transmission."

Corado-Vega says this is not the time to make cuts.

"It is not the time to remove funding. We are advocating. We are in communication with the mayor's office and I hope these services get added back," said Corado-Vega, who added, "We are seeing well over 200 to 300 people at each site on a regular basis. We target our population. Folks who are essential workers. Domestic workers, folks who are hotel and restaurant workers."

VIDEO: Study shows people are recovering from COVID in a week but testing positive for over 10 days

San Francisco researchers are noticing that during the omicron surge people were testing positive for COVID for longer than five days.

His concern is that getting rid of test sites in the most vulnerable neighborhoods by the end of the month could backfire for San Francisco.

"At our testing sites, we are seeing double-digit positive rates. At both of our sites here in the Mission. For the Excelsior site, we are seeing positive rates in the 20s, so COVID is here," said Corado-Vega.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton described the budget cuts as "devastating to our communities of need. Something that should've never happened."

Some food distribution hubs will also be impacted and could close by Dec. 31. Corado-Vega said about 900 people get food at the Mission District site every week.

In a statement, Mayor Breed's communication team said the city is seeing significant decrease in federal and state COVID funding: "There will be less funding overall for our COVID response in our upcoming budget. But the mayor's budget still includes $57 million for San Francisco's ongoing COVID response in the upcoming budget, including $3 million for community hubs."

EXCLUSIVE: CA's chief epidemiologist explains why Bay Area is state's COVID hotspot

California's Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan explains why Bay Area is state's COVID hotspot, if mask mandate could return.

Walton said they are working on amending the budget.

"This is going to be something that we are going to work hard to make sure it's preserved," said Walton.